We reported a while ago about the recent change in DVLA rules regarding UK driving licences (it involves having to get a special code if you’re planning to hire a car) and how it could catch the unwary when renting a vehicle abroad. Well, today’s the big day when the new service is rolled out – and fairly predictably, there already seem to be teething troubles – and queues at hire companies – as everyone logs onto the government’s now-active website and the entire system either falls over, or slows to the speed of a French motorway in August.
You can read all about the changes in our earlier post, or indeed anywhere in the British media today, as the story is being gleefully covered in detail. However, if you’re hiring a car abroad in the near future and want to know quickly whether the new regime is likely to cause you any bother, ask yourself the following:
(1) Is the hire company in question a fairly small operation?
(2) Will the hire period start more than 72 hours after I leave the UK?
If the answer to either of these questions is “yes”, you’d definitely do well to read up in advance – and take all the paperwork you can think of with you (yes, including “obsolete” documents), despite the DVLA’s well-meaning advice. You might also want to make sure you can get internet access in case you need to obtain a code when you’re out there…